Recently, I reported that that U.S. District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California tossed out the lawsuits that the cities of Oakland and San Francisco filed last fall against six fossil fuel giants. The two cities were seeking to hold the oil companies liable for the cost of infrastructure upgrades and remediation expected as they deal with effects of rising sea levels.

Undaunted, the state of Rhode Island has now filed a lawsuit against Big Oil.

Rhode Island’s attorney general sued a dozen oil and natural gas companies and their affiliates Monday in state court, accusing them of causing climate change and not sufficiently mitigating its effects.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin (D) said Rhode Island is uniquely harmed by global warming, with its more than 400 miles of shoreline, fishing industry, marine economy and other factors.

“Rhode Island is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate changes that is now on our doorstep with sea level rise and an increase in severe weather patterns, as seen by the extensive damage caused by storms in the past several years, including Super Storm Sandy and the floods of 2010,” Kilmartin said in a statement.

Kilmartin is going big with this case, expanding the list of defendants beyond those in the California cases.

Kilmartin is adding even more defendants than those named already in lawsuits in California, Washington, New York and Colorado. He and attorneys at Sher Edling aren’t just blaming the original five companies but also Motiva Enterprises, Citgo, Marathon Oil, Speedway, Hess Corp., Lukoil Pan Americas and Getty Petroleum Marketing.

The lawsuit asserts said that the 21 companies named also violated the state’s Environmental Rights Act by polluting and destroying natural resources in Rhode Island and is requesting unspecified compensatory and punitive damages as well as orders requiring the companies to pay abatement costs and to disgorge profits.

Manufacturers who do business in the state are unhappy with the move.

Explained Lindsey de la Torre, executive director of the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP): “Lawsuits targeting manufacturers do nothing to address climate change, and as history has demonstrated, these lawsuits stand little chance in the courtroom.

…She continued: “It’s time for politicians and trial lawyers to put an end to this frivolous litigation. Taxpayer resources should not be used for baseless lawsuits that are designed to enrich trial lawyers and grab headlines for politicians. This abuse of our legal system does nothing to advance meaningful solutions, which manufacturers are focused on every day.”

Hopefully, Big Oil’s team of lawyers are as savvy about real climate science in the Rhode Island case as they were in California. For example, they can cite a new study showing that early life, without the aid of cars or industry, changed the global climate.

…Trying to understand what the Earth was like during the Palaeozoic era is not as difficult as it once was, thanks to the advent of computer modeling. After plugging in known data and running several simulations, the team found that the scenario which best fit Earth’s geological and climatic records was the one in which early ocean burrowing animals did indeed cause a significant change on the sediment geochemistry in Earth’s oceans around this time, “which then results in a large shift in climate,” says Mills.

I also wish that a fair and rational judge oversees this case, too. One of the new Trump appointments would be ideal.

Fossil fuels are a significant source of our nation’s prosperity, and carbon dioxide is essential for life. The #FakeScience of Climate Change should not be a basis for wealth redistribution.

[Featured image via Wikimedia Commons]